Guitarist Reggie Young has died age 82
January 20, 2019
Elvis News, Elvis Articles, Elvis Biography
Maybe it's apropos that Memphis Boys guitarist Reggie Young's daughter-in-law Frances Young announced his death late this evening on Facebook. Photos taken over the past year showed that Reggie's health was slipping. He lived to see his 82nd birthday last December 12.
The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum also released a statement along with Chris Janson of 'Buy Me a Boat' bro-country fame and the Wrecking Crew's Louie Shelton (there will be many others over the coming days). Memphis Boys Bobby Wood (piano) and Gene Chrisman (drums) survive him.
Above | Pianist Bobby Wood, bassist Mike Leech, bassist-producer Tommy Cogbill, drummer Gene Chrisman, Elvis Presley, organist Bobby Emmons, guitarist Reggie Young, American Sound engineer and harmonica player Ed Kollis, and songwriter Dan Penn pose together on January 13, 1969, inside the funky American Sound Studio during the historic sessions that yielded Presley’s 'In the Ghetto', 'Suspicious Minds', 'Don’t Cry, Daddy', and 'Kentucky Rain'.
Frances Young: My family is saddened to announce the passing of Reggie Young, my friend and former father-in-law as well as my children’s beloved Grandpops. Everyone knew Reggie whether they realized it or not. He was the most recorded guitarist in music history and held the record for many years for playing on more #1 songs than any other musician. 'Drift Away’s' signature riff was his calling card, but my favorite song of his when I was a girl was Elvis’ 'In the Ghetto. The guitar mesmerized me while the lyrics told their haunting tale. Little did I know how special the man playing those notes would be in my life. Reggie was my friend, my family, and a father-figure who showed me how gentle and caring a dad could be. May you know joy and peace beyond the Veil, Reggie. Loved ya always, no matter what'.
Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum Founder Joe Chambers remembers Reggie Young. It’s hard to know where to start. I don’t really even know how long I’ve known Reggie personally. Musically, for me was the American Studio Recordings probably spun on radio stations WCLS and WDAK AM in Columbus Georgia back in the ’60s and ’70s before moving to Nashville. So many iconic guitar riffs that were and are burned in all of our musical soundtracks. Most of you know already about Reggie so I won’t go deep into his career but for those of you who don’t know, Reggie was the studio guitarist in the band at American Studio in Memphis known as The 827 Thomas Street Band. B.J Thomas, Dusty Springfield, The Box Tops, Neil Diamond and Elvis, to name a few got most of, if not all, of their biggest records with this group at this studio. Later when some of the band moved to Nashville they became known as the 'Memphis Boys' continuing their magic in the studio.
After moving to Nashville, Reggie’s intro to 'Drift Away' alone would be enough for most musicians to hang their professional hat on for a lifetime not to mention Reggie’s drawer full of other incredible riffs or just being a member of the Highwaymen band or being on Eric Clapton’s list of favorite guitarists. Like so many other great musicians who have passed, Reggie is still with us every time we hear his guitar on the radio which is, thankfully, all the time. Reggie and Jenny were as perfect a couple as I’ve ever seen and they both deserved each other. Reggie was among the first group of musicians inducted into The Musicians Hall of Fame and Museum as a member of The Memphis Boys in 2007. I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again, the most talented musicians I’ve ever met are usually also the nicest and Reggie was positively both of those.
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